Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Posts about Vikings players

Peterson, Gerhart miss practice again

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: December 12, 2013 - 3:49 PM

Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) missed a second day of practice Thursday.

Coach Leslie Frazier said he hopes both will be able to do some work Friday. Peterson, who suffered a foot sprain, only has done pool rehab this week.

Asked what he needs to see from both players Friday in order to feel comfortable putting them on the field Sunday, Frazier said, "In Adrian's case, being able to see him cut, plant, just put some weight on that foot. Then with Toby, just see if he can burst a little bit with a hamstring. Hopefully, we can find that out tomorrow."

Tight end John Carlson is still experiencing concussion symptoms so he’s not been cleared to practice. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and right guard Brandon Fusco (knee) also did not practice.

“I’m hoping that we’ll get Brandon out there [Friday],” Frazier said. “Xavier will be touch and go. We’ll know more tomorrow. That’s a big day for all those guys.”

Vikings announce all-Metrodome team

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: December 12, 2013 - 2:56 PM

With only two games left in the Metrodome, the Vikings announced their all-Mall of America Field team on Thursday.

The team was chosen by fan voting over the past month and recognizes the "greatest Vikings to play in the stadium." The team consists of 27 current and former players -- 12 offensive players, 11 defensive players and four special teamers, as well as the head coach. The team will be honored during halftime of Sunday's game against Philadelphia.

Here is the team:

OFFENSE

PLAYER               POS.             YEARS

Daunte Culpepper... QB........... 1999-05

Adrian Peterson....... RB........... 2007-13

Robert Smith........... RB........... 1993-00

Anthony Carter....... WR........... 1985-93

Cris Carter.............. WR........... 1990-01

Randy Moss........... WR...... 1998-04,’10

Steve Jordan............ TE........... 1982-94

Tim Irwin..................... T........... 1981-93

Gary Zimmerman....... T........... 1986-92

Steve Hutchinson...... G........... 2006-11

Randall McDaniel...... G........... 1988-99

Matt Birk..................... C........... 1998-08

DEFENSE

PLAYER               POS.             YEARS

Jared Allen............... DE........... 2008-13

Chris Doleman......... DE...... 1985-93,’99

John Randle............. DT........... 1990-00

Kevin Williams......... DT........... 2003-13

Chad Greenway....... LB........... 2006-13

Ed McDaniel............. LB........... 1992-01

Scott Studwell.......... LB........... 1977-90

Carl Lee................... CB........... 1983-93

Antoine Winfield....... CB........... 2004-12

Robert Griffith............ S........... 1994-01

Joey Browner............. S........... 1983-91

SPECIAL TEAMS

PLAYER               POS.             YEARS

Percy Harvin........... RS........... 2009-12

Chris Kluwe................ P........... 2005-12

Ryan Longwell............ K........... 2006-11

Chris Walsh.............. ST........... 1994-02

HEAD COACH

Dennis Green ........................... 1992-01

Vikings concerned about McCoy

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: December 12, 2013 - 2:37 PM

The emergence of Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles has become one of the NFL’s most surprising stories this season, but the Vikings say their primary focus lies with the Eagles running game.

Specifically LeSean McCoy, who leads the league in rushing with 1,305 yards.

“This dude is making moves,” defensive end Jared Allen said. “He’s like a human joystick right now."

The Eagles lead the NFL in rushing, largely due to McCoy, who set a franchise record with 217 yards rushing against Detroit in Sunday.

McCoy has rushed for 150-plus yards four times this season, the only player in the NFL to reach that mark more than once. He’s also tied for third in the NFL in 20-yard runs with eight.

“Dynamic in every phase,” defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. “Dynamic out of the backfield, dynamic when you have him bottled up. He’s Houdini. You think you have him bottled up and he’s right there. You look away and the next thing you know you’re looking back at the film and he’s 30 yards down the field. He’s a fantastic football player. I don’t know if he gets the recognition really that he should.”

Several Vikings players compared McCoy to Detroit's Reggie Bush because of his versatility as a receiver.

“Yeah, that’s fun,” linebacker Chad Greenway joked about having to cover McCoy out of the backfield. “He’s unbelievable. Reggie Bush-like. I think he’s got different skills than Reggie. But just a matchup nightmare.”

Snow covering field in Baltimore; Rudolph, Robinson among inactives

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: December 8, 2013 - 10:36 AM

BALTIMORE -- Hello from snowy M&T Bank Stadium.

The field is covered with snow as players go through early warmups, making for a cool setting for today's game against the Ravens.

No surprises in the Vikings inactives: quarterback Christian Ponder, cornerback Josh Robinson, offensive guard Jeff Baca, tackle Mike Remmers, tight end Kyle Rudolph, wide receiver Rodney Smith and defensive tackle Chase Baker.

Vikings' Henderson deals with demotion, criticism

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: December 4, 2013 - 1:32 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier announced today that Erin Henderson will start Sunday at Baltimore, but not at middle linebacker. Audie Cole will remain the starter at that spot while Henderson will return to weakside linebacker, a position he played prior to this season.

Henderson lost his job after his DWI arrest came to light last week. Henderson also has acknowledged that he's dealing with a personal issue, which caused him to miss the Green Bay game.

Henderson will return to the lineup after dressing but not playing in Sunday's victory against the Bears.

"It’s a huge thing for me," he said. "I didn’t really know how it was going to play out or what was going to happen once everything came out [about his arrest] and happened the way it did. It's another chance, another opportunity."

Henderson is familiar with the weakside spot so he shouldn't face any adjustment in shifting back to that role.

"From a pride standpoint and from a player’s standpoint, it’s a little bit difficult," he said. "But I accept my role and I understand what they’re trying to get done here and I’m behind my coach and the organization and whatever else decisions they make.”

The target of criticism for fans and media this season, Henderson said he's in a good frame of mind now, but he acknowledged that he let the criticism get to him this season.

"I have a lot of things to be happy about and thankful for aside from all the naysayers and haters and everybody else who's had different things to say about me throughout the year," he said. "Sometimes I let it get to me and get me down too much. I've come to grips with it and come to terms with it and I'm able to look at myself and know the man that I am and accept it.

".... I go out there every Sunday and I play my guts out, leave it on the line for my teammates and myself as well. So when you get some negative feedback it can be kind of a tough pill to swallow. But then you learn some of those people are idiots, sitting behind computers and phones saying whatever they want to say and you can't give it too much credit. Take it with a grain of salt and continue to move forward."

Henderson said he's limited his interaction on Twitter because of that criticism.

"I thought about deleting my account but that's giving them even more satisfaction," he said. "I still have my account but it's not on my phone so I don't check it as often and I don't tweet out too much. I think it is still good for those fans who appreciate the interaction and being able to reach out to people. There are a lot of good people out there. I get a lot of positive feedback as well. I don't think I give that enough credit or appreciation for the people who are talking well about me and who do have things to say about me. It can be kind of difficult to see sometimes with so much negativity coming your way.

"... Even with Audie going out there playing well. Instead of people just being happy for Audie playing, it's 'Audie's playing well, Erin sucks, get him out of there, he should never play again.' Why do I have to have anything to do with that? Just be happy for Audie and what he's doing and the opportunity he's taking advantage of."

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